Pair of superb terracotta roof tiles in the form of two
standing warriors; each sculpted in the round in
opposing, wide-legged stance, upon integral base.
Figure A (left) stands with weight rested on bent left
leg, right leg extended straight; right arm crooked
at elbow, hand clenched in fist against torso; left
hand rested on left leg; ample visage with fleshy,
almost ape-like features including furrowed brow,
wide nose and mouth in grimace, framed by tightly-
fitting leather-style cap on head and long beard that
touches the chest; wears green tunic belted around
the middle with waist cushions, over yellow trousers
and brown boots.
Figure B (right), similar, but with weight rested on
bent right leg, both hands on thighs; sleeves of
tunic rolled up to the elbow revealing arm guards
(vambraces); front panel of tunic distinguished by
scalloped-edge and brigandine; brigandine leg
guards worn over trousers.
This exquisite pair of tiles herald from the Ming
Dynasty (ACE 1368-1644) and would have been
displayed along imperial ridges and reserved for the
most important buildings. In addition to their
expressive quality and arresting physiognomy, the
distinct sancai-glaze, literally meaning three glazes,
appeals for its brilliant colours and ability to vividly
evoke the dazzling, luxurious cosmopolitan life of
Imperial China. Above and beyond aesthetic merit,
they are thought to constitute an accurate index as
to Ming armoury.
The highlight of any collection.